After the Johnson & Johnson shots began causing an increasing number of recipients to see concerning symptoms, sites began closing. Now people are wondering, is the vaccine even safe? Here is a rundown of what we know:
What's Even IN the Vaccine?
Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine (and Moderna's) uses bits of genetic code to cause an immune response. These are called mRNA vaccines. They do not alter human cells, but merely present the body with instructions to build immunity to Covid. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine uses a harmless virus altered to look a lot more like the pandemic virus.
Vaccines sometimes contain other ingredients, like aluminum, that make the vaccine stable or more effective.
What are the Vaccine Options?
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization for a vaccine, the use of which is prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S.
On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the second vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The emergency use authorization allows the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.
Johnson & Johnson's Janssen
On April 13, 2021 both the FDA and the CDC recommended a pause in the distribution of this vaccination. It was intended for individuals aged 18 and over. There is another emergency meeting set for April 23, 2021 to discuss this vaccination. People who have received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine within the past three weeks who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath should seek medical care right away.
Is it Safe to Get Vaccinated?
Over 189 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States between December and April. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines underwent the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials and the vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.